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Intel Previews Processors and Graphics Software at GDC 2019

At their GDC 2019 conference, Intel confirmed that they'll launch 9th generation mobile processors in the 2nd quarter of 2019. While 9th generation H-series and Y-series "Ice Lake" parts recently showed up on the EEC website, Intel told PC World that these parts are based on 14nm Coffee Lake Silicon. The company also mentioned that one of their goals with his release is "longer battery life" for gamers and more casual users alike, and they're promoting their Wi-Fi 6 capable AX200 chip and 3D XPoint memory with the new chips Meanwhile, Intel also showed off a new software suite for their modern IGPs and (presumably) their future GPUs. The "Intel Graphics Command Center" is essentially their answer to Nvidia's GeForce Experience and AMD's Game Advisor, as it automatically scans your PC for supported games and applies the optimal settings for your current hardware. An "early access" version of the control panel is available on the Microsoft Store, and oddly enough, it says it was "released" on 11/26/2018. Unlike other app stores, the Microsoft Store doesn't log updates or list old changes, so it was presumably in some kind of closed alpha before being officially launched today.

We asked, you answered. You're tired of our 'old, boring, corporate-looking' Graphics Control Panel. We were too and we designed a completely new one from the ground up! We're incorporating the changes you - the gamers, home theater enthusiasts, professionals, and everyday tinkerers requested. Using a phased approach, we're rolling out something we're proud to share with you: introducing the Intel Graphics Command Center.

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 21, 2019 9:54 AM (CDT)

Intel Shows Off Graphics Card Designs at GDC 2019

Intel reportedly unveiled some "early designs" of their upcoming discrete graphics cards at their GDC 2019 presentation. The graphics card in the first and 2nd slides they showed largely reassembles an Optane 905P SSD with a blower fan and a conspicuously short PCB. While the Xe's specs and performance levels are still unknown, to me, the short PCB suggests that Intel will use some kind of on-package memory with their upcoming GPU, or a relatively narrow GDDR memory bus at the very least. A shot of the back reveals a full backplate, as well as 3 DisplayPort outputs and one HDMI port. Finally, the last slide shows a card with a fan right on top of the graphics chip, which is something I haven't seen on a high-end reference card in some time.

Unfortunately, full specifications are still not yet available for Intel's upcoming graphics card. Real world performance is essentially completely unknown for now. As the year goes on, there is a good chance Intel may share some numbers given how eager the company is to make everyone aware that they have a major new product incoming.

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 21, 2019 8:32 AM (CDT)

Apple Launches iMac With Coffee Lake and Vega

Today, Apple updated its iMac lineup with 9th generation Intel processors and AMD Vega graphics. The 21.5 inch iMac now sports up to 6 cores, while the 27 inch iMac gets what's presumably a fully enabled 8-core Coffee Lake die. Apple also says they're they're offering "Radeon Pro Vega graphics" in both the 21.5-inch and 27-inch iMacs. The subtext reveals that the smaller iMac has an optional "Vega 20" graphics card, while the larger one features the long-rumored Radeon Pro Vega 48. It's not clear if we'll ever see desktop gaming versions of these Vega GPUs, but some people have already pointed out that smaller Vega GPUs could cut into sales for the recently-launched RX 590.

Apple revolutionized personal technology with the introduction of the Macintosh in 1984. Today, Apple leads the world in innovation with iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch and Apple TV. Apple's four software platforms - iOS, macOS, watchOS and tvOS - provide seamless experiences across all Apple devices and empower people with breakthrough services including the App Store, Apple Music, Apple Pay and iCloud. Apple's more than 100,000 employees are dedicated to making the best products on earth, and to leaving the world better than we found it.

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 19, 2019 11:13 AM (CDT)

Atari VCS Is Powered by 14nm AMD Ryzen APU with Radeon Vega Graphics

Atari has announced that the upcoming Atari VCS will now be powered by a 14nm AMD processor featuring high-performance Radeon Vega graphics architecture and two "Zen" CPU cores. The hardware team at Atari has replaced the AMD "Bristol Ridge" processor with the new AMD Ryzen APU. The new AMD Ryzen platform will bring welcomed upgrades such as greater efficiency, faster speeds, and cooler temps; allowing the VCS to benefit from a simpler and more effective power architecture and thermal solution. The new processor includes built-in Ethernet, Native 4K video with modern HDCP, and a secure frame buffer that fully-supports DRM video (Netflix, HBO, etc.). The North American schedule is now targeting end of 2019 for delivery of the Atari VCS system for Indiegogo backers. Thanks @MixManSC !

This upgrade will translate to better overall performance in a cooler and quieter box--all with minimal impact to our manufacturing processes. While additional specifications about the new AMD processor will be announced closer to launch, be assured that the new AMD Ryzen processor is a much better fit for this project in multiple ways and will further enable the Atari VCS to deliver on its promise to be a unique and highly flexible platform for creators. Atari cannot thank our great partners at AMD enough for bringing forward this exciting new--and thus-far unannounce -- product for us to utilize in the VCS.

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 18, 2019 5:26 PM (CDT)

Intel Delivers First Exascale Supercomputer to Argonne National Laboratory

Intel Corporation and Cray Inc. have announced that a Cray "Shasta" system will be the first U.S. exascale supercomputer. This $500 million Aurora supercomputer will be coming to the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory in 2021 and will have a performance of one exaFLOP - a quintillion floating point operations per second. In addition, this system is designed to enable the convergence of traditional HPC, data analytics, and artificial intelligence -- at exascale. The program contract is valued at more than $100 million for Cray, one of the largest contracts in the company's history. The design of the Aurora system calls for 200 Shasta cabinets, Cray's software stack optimized for Intel architectures, Cray Slingshot interconnect, as well as next generation Intel technology innovations in compute processor, memory and storage technologies. Intel's Rajeeb Hazra detailed some of the futuristic technology coming to Aurora including a future generation Intel Xeon Scalable processor, the recently announced Intel Xe compute architecture, and Intel Optane DC persistent memory. "Today is an important day not only for the team of technologists and scientists who have come together to build our first exascale computer -- but also for all of us who are committed to American innovation and manufacturing," said Bob Swan, Intel CEO. "The convergence of AI and high-performance computing is an enormous opportunity to address some of the world's biggest challenges and an important catalyst for economic opportunity."

The Aurora system's exaFLOP of performance -- equal to a "quintillion" floating point computations per second -- combined with an ability to handle both traditional high-performance computing (HPC) and artificial intelligence (AI) will give researchers an unprecedented set of tools to address scientific problems at exascale. These breakthrough research projects range from developing extreme-scale cosmological simulations, discovering new approaches for drug response prediction and discovering materials for the creation of more efficient organic solar cells. The Aurora system will foster new scientific innovation and usher in new technological capabilities, furthering the United States' scientific leadership position globally.

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 18, 2019 3:24 PM (CDT)

AMD's 7nm Navi GPU Rumored to Launch Roughly a Month after Ryzen 3000

Contradicting earlier rumors of an October launch, the Wccftech gang is claiming AMD has told partners its 7nm Navi GPU will launch "exactly a month" after the debut of its next-generation Ryzen processors. With the conundrum of low yields somewhat out of the way (based on the availability of the Radeon VII), the author is confident AMD will have no issues getting the card out within the third quarter this year.

I have been told that AMD’s Navi GPU is at least one whole month behind AMD’s 7nm Ryzen launch, so if the company launches the 3000 series desktop processors at Computex like they are planning to, you should not expect the Navi GPU to land before early August. The most likely candidates for launch during this window are Gamescom and Siggraph. I would personally lean towards Gamescom simply because it is a gaming product and is the more likely candidate, but anything can happen with AMD!

Discussion
Posted by Megalith March 17, 2019 2:15 PM (CDT)

Pilots Now Spend More Time Learning Automated Systems than Hands-On Flying

The Boeing 737 Max 8 crashes have reignited debate over the potential risks of automation in aircraft and how it may hinder human competence, but a New York Times story suggests many new pilots are at the mercy of technology regardless: interviews with pilots and instructors indicate many are less skilled at manual control because of an increased focus on automated systems, turning them into system operators rather than pilots. "They may not exactly know or recognize quickly enough what is happening to the aircraft, and by the time they figure it out, it may be too late."

"The automation in the aircraft, whether it’s a Boeing or an Airbus, has lulled us into a sense of security and safety," said Kevin Hiatt, a former Delta Air Lines pilot who later ran flight safety for JetBlue. Pilots now rely on autopilot so often, "they become a systems operator rather than a stick-and-rudder pilot." In recent years, the Federal Aviation Administration has advised airlines to encourage pilots to fly manually when appropriate, among other policies intended to improve manual skills.

Discussion
Posted by Megalith March 17, 2019 12:50 PM (CDT)

Crytek Demos Real-Time Ray Traced Reflections Running on an AMD Vega 56

Crytek has released a new video demonstrating the results of a CRYENGINE research and development project called Neon Noir. Neon Noir is based on an advanced version of CRYENGINE's Total Illumination showcasing real-time ray tracing. The demo shown below is running on an AMD Vega 56 and demonstrates how real-time mesh ray-traced reflections and refractions can deliver highly realistic visuals for games. This feature is expected to be available to developers using CRYENGINE in 2019. The demo was created on a bespoke version of CRYENGINE 5.5 and the experimental ray tracing feature is both API and hardware agnostic. This means that it will run on AMD and NVIDIA GPUs. Crytek will optimize the technology to benefit both the current generation of graphics cards and supported APIs like Vulkan and DX12. Thanks @Gideon !

Neon Noir follows the journey of a police drone investigating a crime scene. As the drone descends into the streets of a futuristic city, illuminated by neon lights, we see its reflection accurately displayed in the windows it passes by, or scattered across the shards of a broken mirror while it emits a red and blue lighting routine that will bounce off the different surfaces utilizing CRYENGINE's advanced Total Illumination feature. Demonstrating further how ray tracing can deliver a lifelike environment, neon lights are reflected in the puddles below them, street lights flicker on wet surfaces, and windows reflect the scene opposite them accurately.

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 15, 2019 4:32 PM (CDT)

Intel Teases Its New Intel Graphics UI

Intel has released a teaser video that shows off the new Intel Graphics UI with an announcement of "Coming this month." #JoinTheOdyssey

The new control panel for Intel Graphics is coming. Get a taste of what that means for the future of visual computing. The Odyssey awaits.

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 12, 2019 10:14 AM (CDT)

Intel Announces Compute Express Link

Intel has announced Compute Express Link (CXL); a new industry open standard that allows for high-speed communications between CPU-to-Device and CPU-to-Memory interconnect in next-generation data centers. CXL creates a high-speed, low latency interconnect between the CPU and workload accelerators, such as GPUs, FPGAs and networking. CXL maintains memory coherency between the devices, allowing resource sharing for higher performance, reduced software stack complexity and lower overall system cost. The technology is built upon the PCI Express (PCIe) infrastruture and leverages the PCIe 5.0 physical and electrical interface to provide advanced protocol in three key areas: I/O Protocol, Memory Protocol, initially allowing a host to share memory with an accelerator, and Coherency Interface. Some think that Intel is ready to embrace Gen-Z without embracing it outright. In the CXL announcement there are quotes linking CXL to Gen-Z. Robert Hormuth, Vice President & Fellow, Chief Technology Officer, Server & Infrastructure Systems, Dell EMC said, "Dell EMC is delighted to be part of the CXL Consortium and its all-star cast of promoter companies. We are encouraged to see the true openness of CXL, and look forward to more industry players joining this effort. The synergy between CXL and Gen-Z is clear, and both will be important components in supporting Dell EMC's kinetic infrastructure and this data era." Kurtis Bowman, President, Gen-Z Consortium said, "As a Consortium founded to encourage an open ecosystem for the next-generation memory and compute architectures, Gen-Z welcomes Compute Express Link (CXL) to the industry and we look forward to opportunities for future collaboration between our organizations."

Monday's announcement could give Intel an advantage for its upcoming graphics cards, since the chip-maker will be building CXL compatibility into its popular server processors. It is reasonable to argue that the CXL is new and that Intel has a lot of market pull. At the same time, the CXL partner list is nothing less than underwhelming. Intel got big names of its customers, but it did not get other accelerators.

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 11, 2019 7:50 PM (CDT)

Potential Navi Benchmark: Better Graphics, Lower Compute Performance than Vega 64

An unknown AMD GPU (66AF:F1) has appeared on CompuBench, and some believe it could be a Navi part. GFXBench scores allude to a card that exceeds the Radeon RX Vega 64 in graphics capability but falls behind in certain compute tests, even against the Vega 56. Notebook Check advises this could actually be a Vega 20 GPU ("we've seen Linux drivers listing 0x66AF as Vega 20").

A comparison of the GFXBench scores of the AMD 66AF:F1 with the Radeon RX Vega 64 shows that the purported Navi variant leads significantly in the Aztec Ruins Normal Tier (1080p) and High Tier tests 1440p). This could imply that GCN6 in Navi is tailored more towards raw graphics than compute. We aren't exactly sure about the specs of this particular entry but expect to see variants with anywhere between 20 to 40 higher clocked CUs when Navi launches.

Discussion
Posted by Megalith March 10, 2019 1:25 PM (CDT)

Google's Game Streaming Console Controller Potentially Revealed

Google won’t be officially announcing its new game streaming service until next week’s Game Developers Conference, but Twitter user Reps has gone ahead and provided an early look at the "Yeti" console’s controller. Many believe these are merely renders based off a patent uncovered over the weekend, but they do give an idea of what the final product could look like.

The patent indicates that the controller provides for a "seamless activation of a game of other application on a host device" and that a "game may be launched on the host device in a response to an activation signal that is dispatched from the game controller." The game controller itself has a built-in notification system that can notify a player of various game-related responses (i.e. chat notification, leaderboard changes, etc.).

Discussion
Posted by Megalith March 10, 2019 9:30 AM (CDT)